Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is an umbrella term that encompasses emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other conditions like chronic asthma. It often caused by smoking but other environmental and genetic factors can also be a stimulus.
The main symptoms are breathlessness and cough. Essentially air can come in but due to changes in the airways and air sacs it is hard for the air to get out. the brain can't distinguish the reason for the breathlessness so panics and sends a signal to breathe more, worsening the breathlessness and often causing panic and anxiety.
Treatment includes stopping smoking and being on the right inhalers. Physical exercise has been shown through gold standard research to be the most effective way of reducing breathlessness. The less activity someone does due to fear of being short of breath, the more deconditioned they are and the more breathless they become.
Physiotherapy provides breathing strategies to help get more air out and control the breathing as well as providing exercise programmes to increase confidence and strength. Secretion clearance to reduce cough and clear phlegm effectively is also important. There are free community group programmes in Canterbury.
For some a more individual approach is required and that is where The Lung Mechanic can assist.